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Jakarta Post

‘Matah Ati’: Instilling pride in Indonesia’s heritage

  • Andari Gusman

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, June 29 2012   /  11:49 am

The aroma of incense that diffused the Teater Jakarta last weekend brought back sweet memories that only such scents can trigger.

One whiff was all it took for the audience of Matah Ati to travel back in time to 18th century Java, at which time Indonesian warriors’ swords clashed with those of the Dutch.

While that was a time when blood, sweat and tears poured from the centuries of struggle, love persisted. We may have heard that “all is fair in love and war”, but not many performances have depicted what happens when the two intersect in the way Matah Ati does.

Based on a true story set in the Mangkunegaran Palace in Surakarta, Central Java, Matah Ati tells the story of the struggle and discovery of love by Rubiyah, a young woman who fought against Dutch colonizers alongside Raden Mas Said or Prince Sambernyowo. The play was inspired by the Langendriyan — a...